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Syllamo's Revenge - NUE #4 - Arkansas

Posted by: Shannon Boffeli |June 5, 2013 2:52 AM
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Syllamo's Revenge - Mountain View, Arkansas

National Ultra Endurance Series (NUE) #4

Written by: Ryan O’Dell

Beneath towering bluffs near the Blanchard Springs Caverns of Mountain View, Arkansas, last year, Syllamo took his revenge on several top contenders in the form of unplanned rock encounters, multi-flora tattoo’s and tires that succumbed to the rocky, technical terrain. This year’s race course again challenged man and machine in race number four of the KENDA NUE, National Ultra Endurance Series.

Mountain View is considered the Folk Music Capital of the World and, in addition to its IMBA epic mountain bike trail system, the area also features Blanchard Springs Caverns and has become a popular destination for rainbow trout fishing and canoeing on the White and Buffalo Rivers which border the east and west sides of the district.

Syllamo’s Revenge, presented by Hammer Nutrition, with 50 mile and 125k distances, takes place on the Syllamo, pronounced (Sil-lah-moe), mountain bike trail, a series of interconnecting loops offering mountain bike enthusiast’s fifty miles of trail, most of it single-track. The trail name dates back to an infamous resident of the area in the early 1800’s. A Creek Indian named Syllamo who was "tolerated by the native Shawnees”. His favorite hunting grounds were a particular creek drainage that was named for him.  


NUE Women’s Open:

Sornson wins four Straight!

NUE Champion, Cheryl Sornson, Team CF, made it four in a row this year to lead all women in the NUE Series following an impressive win at Syllamo’s Revenge. She was the only women to do sub eight finishing in 7:45:11. "It was a quick turn-around from New York to Arkansas. To make it less stressful, I chose to race my Epic while my Fate was greasing its wounds. It was a good choice for the Syllamo 125. The trails are rocky and techy.  The epic ate it up, especially with grid ground control tires front and rear.

I needed more comfort for this race. My body is a bit wore down from six weekends of racing with 3 Hundos, 2 Endurance, and one XC.  I got away early on in the race, stayed away, and got the win. It was hard to stay motivated and I missed my target time, but, towards the end, I decided to be kind to my body and enjoyed the super awesome single track at a more leisurely pace.  Well, it was leisurely until single speeders from team Noah sprinkled the trail with fast spirited dust and we railed the red trail for a bit. Great times and great people!

Lorinda Putter, Raintree Healthcare, of Allen, TX finished second at 8:29:40 with Brenda Simril, of Chattagnooga, TN getting the third spot on the podium at 8:44:54. Simril, third overall in the NUE Series last season, placed fourth at Syllamo’s in 2011 in 8:07:03 and second last year in 7:47:47 despite wrestling with the extreme heat that year.  


NUE Men’s Open: 

For the second straight year, Edsall brings it home for team Kenda/Felt!

Drew Edsall, Kenda/Felt, made it two straight at Syllamo’s as he honed his technical ability and benefited from the misfortune of flat tires that struck at several other top contenders.

The ONLY racer last year to go sub six hours at 5:59:40, Edsall finished first again this year in   6:11:15to get his first NUE Series win of the season, "As usual at Syllamo’s, there were lots of flats for a few of the top contenders that split things up early, including flats for Christian Tanguy and Josh Tostado.

I ran the SCT Kozmik Lite II tires provided by Kenda and can't express how happy I am to go flat free for a second year in a row on those tires in this race. The course was super slick on the second lap. Rain two days prior made for an interesting "ice rink" kind of slick rock. I had to finesse the climbs more than ever just to stay on the bike. I heard horror stories after the race of riders getting off their bikes to walk and eating it while walking.

I went off the front and pushed the pace a bit right off the start on the first steep fire road climb in the race. I wanted to test my legs and also those of my competitors. Pushing the pace worked well in splitting up the group, but I also burned a match with that effort. That left Cary Smith and I off the front, with Rob Spreng and Christian Tanguy close behind.

The four of us stayed together until about 40 minutes in where I picked up the pace on some of the steeper climbs in the race. I got a very small gap prior to a super technical section with a "secret", but very technical, line I found last year. Given the rain two days prior, that line and the course was even more technical than normal. I used this to my advantage and pushed the pace a bit more than I normally would have early on in a race this length.

I got a small gap on that section and then was rejoined by a super strong Cary Smith. I would tend to gain on the technical, slippery terrain, and then Cary would power back to me. It really made me push a lot to break him. We went back and forth off all the way to about 30 miles in, where the two toughest climbs are located. I got a sustainable gap at that point, but nothing is definite that early in the race. I pushed and pushed all the way to the line. This race was by far one of my hardest and most fought for wins in the NUE Series. I was very happy and relieved to cross the line in the top spot. Not an easy task given the course and strong ride of Cary.

Carey Smith, Team CF, would finish second in 6:19:01 with Todd Dohogne, off the front racing, from Eureka, MO getting third in a tough field at 7:23:58. Rob Spreng, Team CF, 7:27:46 and Russell Griffin, Cycleton, of Denver rounded out fourth and fifth place.

2011 NUE Champion, Christian Tanguy, Team CF, was forced to settle for sixth place at 7:40:56 after reportedly suffering numerous flat tires. In 2011, before going on to achieve his first NUE Series Title, Tanguy took the top spot at Syllamo’s in 6:10:19. Then last year, Syllamo struck hard at the champ as Tanguy lost it in a loose gravel section early in the race, catapulting over the bars and into the rocks, forcing him to drop out and make an unplanned trip to the local ER. 


NUE Singlespeed Open:  

The Pfluginator gets his third NUE Series Victory AND third place overall!

Last year, four time NUE Singlespeed Champion Gerald Pflug, Team CF, completed the 125k  course in just 6:35:17, fourth overall and more than a half hour faster than he did in 2011 at 7:06:32! This year, the Pfluginator won SS and placed third overall in 7:00:35.    

"I had a few concerns about travelling to Mountain View, Arkansas. The biggest of these concerns was that I got an infection from a tick bite at this race last year. I had even more concerns with the Syllamo 125 than other NUE Races because of the sharp rocks on the course which can tear a sidewall and ruin a race very quickly. To make the race even more worrisome, the hot and humid weather in the forecast had me concerned because I've had very little opportunity to ride in warm temperatures this spring. There was certainly no doubt in my mind that Syllamo was going to be a hard race on my body and bike.

Preparation for a race can sometimes be more important than actual physical conditioning. One thing I did special for this race, to prepare for the rough course conditions, was to put on the heaviest tires made by Specialize, the Grids. I also decided to use a heavier pair of wheels instead of my light Carbon Roval Racing Wheels, to add further insurance that the rocks would not give me any issues during race day. Additionally, I put in a little extra time studying the course map and route because of the multiple lap and checkpoint format.

Before beginning the endless miles of single track, the course goes straight up for about a mile on a fire road climb. This climb does a very good job of separating riders. I was one of the top ten riders to make it into the single track and there were three other singlespeed racers along with me. I kept my pace a little higher than I initially planned through the opening miles of single track. This strategy seemed to work and I was able to get a nice gap over the other singlespeeders about five miles into the race.

Once I had my gap, my plan was to keep my power output at a more sustainable race pace.  Doing this allows me to pay closer attention to the trail features and the course markings, which seems to help me stay on course and also helps in preventing my bike from getting damaged by trying to ride too fast through the technical parts of the course. My plan was going well until a new pair grips I installed began to loosen, which caused my right grip to become like a motorcycle throttle. At one point, the grip came completely off my bar and I had to pound it back on. 
I was drinking a lot to stay hydrated and using every opportunity the trail gave me to force fluid into my body.  Unfortunately, my plan derailed when I arrived at checkpoint four and was told not to pick anything up because I would be coming back into the checkpoint.  I didn't think this was right, but I rode away from the checkpoint with about three gulps of fluid left in my bottle.  A couple of miles later I realized the second lap of the yellow loop was beginning and that I would be riding for about an hour with almost no fluid.

Realizing this was not a good situation on such a hot day, I made a plan to ration my three gulps to one every 15 minutes so that I could limp back into the next checkpoint. I also kept my eyes open on every descent for a bottle that may have fallen from another rider’s bike on the first lap of the yellow trail. Unfortunately, I did not find any stray bottles on the trail and my body was starting to feel the effects of not drinking enough fluid. 

Once I noticed my body had stopped sweating, I knew my situation was not looking good. I started catching up to riders riding between check point two and three and was able to beg a gulp of fluid from three separate riders heading into my last checkpoint.  I quickly re-hydrated myself at the checkpoint, grabbed my gear, and hit the last section of the red trail before the finish. The red single track trails are just plain fast fun and a great way to end a hard race.  Since I was unsure about how much time I had lost during my time of riding with little to no fluid, I rode this last section of red as fast as I could to maintain my lead. 

One of the first things I did after finishing the race was to do a quick look over my body for ticks.  I was so happy to see none attached to me this year. I also showered soon after finishing and did a more thorough check for ticks on my body.  All checks were negative for any of those little pesky pests and the day was a good one for sure!

Trevor Rockwell, Team Noah Foundation, finished second at 7:25:49. "I rode Gerry's wheel all the way up the fire road as we were in the lead group.  Peat Henry, one of my single speed teammates on Team Noah Foundation, was able to bridge up to us on the fire road.  Peat took off right before the entrance to the single track hoping to get a gap as I stuck to Gerry's wheel and entered in right behind him. 

For about the first 5-7 miles I gave Gerry about a 20-30 yard gap, just enough to keep him within striking distance. I was joined in that first 5-7 miles by my other single speed teammate, Dwayne Gosinski.  We decided to sit back and keep an eye on Gerry as Peat went ahead and tried to put a gap down. Unfortunately we caught up to Peat about 3-4 miles in after he flatted along the "puncture prone” first 10 miles. 

I didn't know what to expect in the race, so I was relying on Dwayne to let me know what was coming up. Unfortunately for me, Dwayne also punctured a short time after Peat so I was left to look after Gerry. That was not going to happen as we hit the first long rock garden and Gerry flowed through the rocks, being the East Coast rider that he is. I struggle in the rocks and that was pretty much the end of keeping Gerry within site. 

I pushed hard over the last 15 miles to finish second in singlespeed and 5th overall! I was totally psyched to be on the podium for my first race of the year and even get a top five overall. This leaves me excited for the remainder of the series. I am looking forward to the next race at the Mohican 100 where the race course plays a little more to my strengths with some good open climbing and more flowy single track. Knowing the course from racing on it last year will also help me to "hopefully” stick with Gerry and give him a run at the top step. 

Third place went to Pete Henry, Free Awesome, in 7:39:05 with last year’s podium finisher, Duane Goscinski, Team Noah Foundation, rolling in just a few minutes later at 7:45:43.


NUE Masters 50+:   

Irving gets his second straight win at Syllamo’s!

53 year old Chris Irving, Los Locos, from Arlington, TN got his second straight victory at Syllamo’s in 2012 where he set the bar at 7:45:19. This year, Irving finished 8:26:46 on a course that resulted in many DNF’s this year. "I had a few mechanical issues the first ten miles but got them sorted out by Check Point One. The rest of the race was uneventful and I just had a fun day on some of my favorite trails. Syllamo is such a great place to ride with the awesome overlooks and great trails.

51 year old Dennis Schueler Jr.,, finished second on the day in 9:00:54.

Don Jardinco (see photo of Dan sporting a cracked helmet) took a nasty spill as a rut threw him onto the rocks. During a 100 mile off-road charity ride this year, Jardinco received the "Ironbutt" trophy for riding 14 hours and eating two buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken in the process.

In addition to cash prizes and custom engraved Slickrock trophies, race winners received prizes from Squirt lube, gift certificates courtesy of Velocity Wheels and Sigma Sport, Chains from KMC Chains and Kenda Tires valued at over $1000.    

On June 1, the series moves to the Buckeye State in Loudonville, Ohio for the tenth annual Kenda Mohican 100 mile and 100k races. Last year, Mohican achieved a record turnout of 650+ racers, the largest in the NUE Series. The race features a remote single loop course that spans the four counties collectively referred to as "Mohican Country”.  Racers can register through Friday, May 31, however, registration is filling up fast and racers are encouraged to register online before midnight on May 29 for best pricing. Visit for more information.



Open Men


Drew Edsall




Cary Smith

Team CF



Todd Dohogne

Off the Front Racing



Rob Spreng

Team CF



Russell Griffin




Christian Tanguy

Team CF



Matt Fischer

Swim Bike Run



Dan Kotwicki

RBS Cycling Team



Lee Simril

Motor Mile Racing



Jarom Thomas

Combo Race Team



Jeff Rupnow

Paradise Garage Racing



Jim Thacker

Trek Store Cincinnati



Steven Hecht

Toasted Head Racing



Yuri Cook

Raintree Healthcare



Rafal Doloto

Midwest Cycling Community



Scott Kiefner

Momentum Cycles



Thomas Harris

Team Mt. Airy



Michael Bonsby

Team Mt. Airy



Jeff Rodelas

Left 4 Dead



Adam Truog

Left 4 Dead


Open Women


Cheryl Sornson

Team CF



Brenda Simril Motor Mile Racing 8:44:54


Laureen Coffelt Los Locos 9:21:43


Shannon Tenwalde Paradise Garage Racing 9:21:43


Pricilla Baltz

Arkansas Cycling and Fitness 9:50:42

Open Singlespeed


Gerry Pflug

Team CF



Trevor Rockwell

Team Noah



Peat Henry

Free Awesome



Dwayne Goscinski

Team Noah



James Prentice




Daniel Rapp

Toasted Head Racing



Jason Zoll

Team Seagal


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